Lunar Surface: Identification of the Dark Mantling Material in the Apollo 17 Soil Samples

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Science  22 Mar 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4130, pp. 1191-1194
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4130.1191


Evidence indicates that Apollo 17 sample 74001, a soil consisting of very dark spheres, is composed almost entirely of the dark mantling material that covers a large region of the southeastern boundary of Mare Serenitatis. Other Apollo 17 samples contain only a component of this material. The underlying basalt in the Taurus-Littrow valley appears to be an extension of material forming the low-albedo ring around part of Mare Serenitatis and much of the surface of Mare Tranquillitatis. The surface of this basalt region is spectrally distinct from areas with dark mantling material. These results are derived fromn telescopic and laboratory measurements of the optical properties of lunar soil. Digital vidicon color images are used to map the extent of these material units in the Taurus-Littrow region.